So you just launched your business and are offering either a product, service or maybe even both; but the true success of your offering can only be determined by the customer service and support you deliver. After all, happy customers are what keeps a business going and growing!
In order to provide the type of support your customers are expecting, you might find the need to integrate and implement a customer support desk software. Before you do, here’s a checklist of factors that you would want to consider before opting for a support solution.
Budget You will find a wide variety of support desk solutions on the internet with different price ranges (some are even free) and while some vendors charge a monthly subscription, others might charge you based on the number of features provided, per agent or on a yearly basis – the options are endless! However, it is important to know what budget you can allocate towards customer support depending upon the nature, sustainability and scalability of your business. It is not always wise to assume that the costlier a solution is, the better it has to be. So before you swipe that card, make sure that you actually need the services you are about to pay for.
Data Security If your data includes important and confidential information, you would want to ensure that your vendor offers an optimum level of data security by encrypting your data using SSL or similar technologies.
It is also wise to make sure that you will be able to import, export and backup your important business data. Lastly, while you’re at it, it might be worthwhile to investigate which hosting services the potential customer services software is using and whether it is reliable enough or not.
Free Trial Version Before becoming a paying customer for a particular software, make sure you take it for a test ride and sign up for a free trial version to explore the features and make sure that it is, in fact a software that is tailored to suit your needs. Vendors mostly offer either a one month or one week trial period. A month is usually enough for the validation of your needs, but don’t hesitate to ask for an extended trial period if you are still not sure of it.
Features and Requirements First of all determine the type of support you aim to provide and the platforms you will use to communicate with your customers. These could include live chat, email, social support or phone support. Next, determine the level of automation that you want to incorporate in your support mechanism. Do you want customers to first try and resolve their issues on their own? This would require an FAQ section. Do you need to send automated messages? Will agents reply to customer issues in real time? Determine the nature of support you want to opt for.
Then make a list of features you need, for instance, live chat, push notifications, performance analytics etc. Look up all the vendors who provide the features you require.
You might not find a module that is a perfect fit for ALL your given needs, so you will have to carefully evaluate the ones which have the best implementations of the ones you need the most.
Pricing An expensive solution doesn’t always have to be the best. Do a comparative analysis of what features and prices different vendors have to offer. It is important to ensure the price fits your budget and other requirements.
Deployment Time Analyze how much time will it take for you to implement the software to your business and make it completely functional. If you are already using a support solution which is very different from the one you want to switch to, keep in mind that it might involve training costs and other switchover costs.
Integrations Determine whether the solution offers integrations with other social platforms and software for CRM.
You might be using some other products to help you with your day to day business management. To allow for a smoother workflow, you should check what sort of integrations are provided by the helpdesk you are evaluating. Don’t forget social integrations as it’s a new support tool altogether.
Training & Resources Make sure the vendor provides ample support resources such as PDF downloads, a knowledge base or video tutorials to help you with the onboarding process.
Interface and Ease of Use It is always better to have a solution which is easy and simple to use. Complex systems will only lead to higher training costs and will take a longer time to deploy, affecting the support process in a negative way. Moreover, the software solution should offer a level of customizability to suit your requirements.
Availability of support Make sure that the vendor will be available at all times to provide support to you and resolve all your issues and queries.
Final thought: Creating lists and mental maps will help you shortlist a support desk solution provider and you can make a sound decision while selecting the support desk that suits your every need!